A company has discretion to determine its financial year-end, provided it is a 12-month period. However, any changes in this must be approved by the Commissioner of the KRA.
Resident companies and PEs of non-resident companies must file a self-assessment tax return annually. The return is accompanied by a tax computation and financial statements, amongst other schedules. The return is due within six months following a company’s financial year-end.
Payment of tax
Instalment tax payments must be made during the year based on the lower of 110% of the previous year’s liability or an estimate of the current year’s liability. Instalment tax payments are due on the 20th of the 4th, 6th, 9th and 12th month of a company’s financial year. Agricultural companies are required to pay estimated tax in two instalments of 75% and 25% during the year. Any balance of tax at the end of the year must be paid within four months of the financial year-end.
For companies paying the minimum tax based on turnover, the minimum tax will be a final tax and is payable in instalments that are due on the same date as the current instalment tax obligations (i.e. on the 20th day of each period ending on the fourth, sixth, ninth, and twelfth month).
Payment of agency taxes
The tax withheld from payments must be paid by the 20th day of the month following the month in which the deduction is made.
Tax Procedures Act (TPA)
The TPA, which entered into force on 19 January 2016, aims to provide uniform procedures for consistency and efficiency in the administration of tax laws, facilitate tax compliance by taxpayers, and promote the effective and efficient collection of tax.
The TPA also harmonises and consolidates tax procedural rules. For example, the TPA provides that a taxpayer should keep records for five years. Previously, the different tax laws, such as the VAT Act 2013, Income Tax Act, and Excise Act, prescribed different timeframes that records should be kept by a taxpayer. Given that it is a relatively new piece of tax legislation, there are some inconsistencies when you mirror the TPA and other tax legislation, though we expect these inconsistencies to be addressed with time.
The Tax Appeal Tribunal Act
The Tax Appeal Tribunal Act, which entered into operation on 1 April 2015, establishes one tribunal that will hear appeals for all tax areas. Previously, income tax matters would be heard by the Local Committee whereas VAT matters would be heard by the Tax Tribunal.
Tax audit process
There is no prescribed audit process, as an audit can be triggered by various factors as determined by the KRA. Generally, tax audits should be carried out after every two to four years. The audit or inspection will commence with a request from the KRA for the taxpayer to make available any such records or information as may be required.
Statute of limitations
The tax authorities must issue an assessment before the expiry of five years from the date of filing the self-assessment by the tax payer. The KRA may go back past five years where fraud is suspected. There is no time limit for completing tax audits. However, they are normally completed within a reasonable time, especially if there are no major disputes.
There are proposed changes to this legislation - please see the section above on Significant amendments proposed in the Finance Bill 2021.
Topics of focus for tax authorities
- To detect fraudulent behaviour and potential tax evasion by using risk-based approaches and by providing analytic capability and intelligence information to users for better decision making and revenue growth.